I have one rule when I travel: if I can’t be flexible around my travel time, I try to be flexible about my destinations. If you adapt this approach, you will find unbelievable values and be amazed how inexpensive yet luxurious your travel can really be.
PointBreaks lists are perfect for this as they allow you to go on a unplanned but fabulous vacations for mere pennies. PointBreaks are prominent and arguably the best feature of IHG hotel loyalty program (IHG has properties such as Inter Continental, Crowne Plaza, and Holiday Inn among others in their portfolio). Their PointBreaks lists feature all kinds of hotels all over the world that allow you to book a room for mere 5,000 points a night. Click here for my previous PointBreaks write-up.
The list normally changes every two months, and this new one that goes into effect today, is simply out-of-this-world. Here are some incredible hotels that you can have for 5,000 points a night, that normally sell for 4-6 times as much. The full list of the PointBreaks hotels for the next two months is available here.
This photo of InterContinental Resort Tahiti is courtesy of TripAdvisor
This photo of InterContinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers is courtesy of TripAdvisor
People’s Republic of China:
This photo of InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin is courtesy of TripAdvisor
This photo of Crowne Plaza ANA Nagasaki Gloverhill is courtesy of TripAdvisor
This photo of Holiday Inn Express Phuket Patong Beach Central is courtesy of TripAdvisor
This photo of Crowne Plaza Hotel Prague is courtesy of TripAdvisor
This photo of Holiday Inn Paris Marne La Vallee is courtesy of TripAdvisor
This photo of Crowne Plaza Padova is courtesy of TripAdvisor
This photo of Holiday Inn Madrid – Calle Alcala is courtesy of TripAdvisor
This photo of Holiday Inn Express Altunizade is courtesy of TripAdvisor
This photo of Crowne Plaza Panama is courtesy of TripAdvisorMexico
This photo of Crowne Plaza Acapulco is courtesy of TripAdvisor
So, we have established that 5,000 points a night for an expensive 4-star hotel is a fantastic value, but what’s all that talk about $45 a night? Well, like the best thing in life, getting this price cannot be done without a trick. Relax, the trick is easy and it only takes 15 minutes of your time.
Decide how many PointBreaks nights you want. Here is the math for you. Don’t worry, I’ll explain later.
If you want 3 nights, you’ll need to spend $67.50 + $70 =$137.50 ($45.80 per night)
If you want 6 nights, you’ll spend $135 + $140 = $275.00 ($45.80 per night)
If you want 9 nights, you will spend $187.50 + 210 = $397.50 ($44.20 per night)
Yes, this method works the best in the increments of three nights.
In our example, let/s say you want a 6-day vacation. That means you’ll need to accumulate 30,000 points. Here is what you do.
- Go to IHG and register for free account. Write down your account number.
- Go to Points.com and buy 10,000 points for $135.00.
- Then go to IHG site and find the cheapest Points + Cash redemption you can get. Understand, it doesn’t matter what you’re booking because you will then cancel your reservation immediately. Here is an example.
- Book 2 nights for 10,000 points and $140 total.
- Now, go ahead and cancel your booking.
What happens is, you won’t get your $140 back. Instead, you will receive 20,000 points that in addition to your initial 10,000 points will be enough to book your 6-day PointBreaks stay. It’s as if you bought your points at $70 per 1,000.
Of course, you can avoid all these steps and buy your 30,000 points directly at Points.com. That would cost you $345 or $58.10 per night. That’s still a terrific value (considering that the lowest rate for IC Tahiti, for instance, starts at $240). So only you can decide if 15 minutes of work is worth saving about 75 bucks like for our 6-night example.
Now, one thing you need to realize is that PointBreaks are capacity controlled, and that they will sell out fast for the most popular locations. Some guys who don’t know when or where they are going, tend to book everything they can (I wish they didn’t do that, but they couldn’t care less what I wish). When you see something you like don’t hesitate; you can always cancel later. But please don’t hoard the bookings just because you can.
If you are interested in exploring the world the way PointBreaks allow you to, then grab a Chase IHG (former Priority Club) credit card with 80,000-point bonus (scroll to #3 and do follow the instructions!). That would give you whopping 16 free PointBreak nights. Realistically, you might not be able to use your points within the next two months, but there will be other PointBreaks, and it’s nice to have some free points waiting around for that perfect trip of yours.
Questions? All you need is ask.